Emergent awarded $107M HHS BARDA contract to develop large-scale manufacturing of BioThrax

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Emergent BioSolutions Inc. (NYSE:EBS) announced today that it has signed a contract valued at up to $107 million with the Office of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to develop and obtain regulatory approval for large-scale manufacturing of BioThrax® (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed) in Building 55. Building 55 is the company's large-scale state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing facility in Lansing, Michigan.

“We applaud HHS for its unwavering commitment to strengthen the country's biodefense infrastructure and to protect our military and civilian populations.”

"In line with Emergent's mission of protecting life, we are proud to be working with HHS to scale-up manufacturing of BioThrax, the only vaccine licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of anthrax infection," said Fuad El-Hibri, chairman and chief executive officer of Emergent BioSolutions. "We applaud HHS for its unwavering commitment to strengthen the country's biodefense infrastructure and to protect our military and civilian populations."

This cost plus fixed fee development contract has a total value of $107 million and consists of a two-year base period of performance valued at $54.6 million and three option years that, if exercised by BARDA, would increase the contract value to up to $107 million. Under the contract, the company anticipates recognizing revenues of up to $10 million and pretax earnings of up to $5 million during the second half of 2010. A substantial majority of the value of the $107 million contract will be realized in the first three years of performance (July 2010 to July 2013), assuming exercise of the first option year.

The contract award is based on a technical proposal provided to BARDA that projects an annual large-scale manufacturing capacity of 26 million doses in Building 55. This is a significant increase from the company's current capacity of approximately 7-8 million doses per annum.

The company has developed a comprehensive plan to demonstrate comparability between the current manufacturing process and the large-scale manufacturing process for BioThrax. The contract will fund activities related to process validation, assay validation, fill/finish, and if required, non-clinical and clinical studies. The plan also includes regulatory activities in support of the submission to FDA of a supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for BioThrax at the expanded scale. The company expects to begin manufacturing consistency lots as early as the fourth quarter of 2011.

Emergent has invested significant resources in Building 55, which has been designed to manufacture up to 25 to 30 million doses of BioThrax as currently configured, and is expandable by adding a second manufacturing train that would double annual capacity, based on demand. This is aligned with the company's core strategy to enhance its manufacturing capabilities to meet the increasing government demand for anthrax vaccines for inclusion in the SNS.

The company also continues to enhance the attractiveness of BioThrax as a significant component of the SNS, most recently through FDA approval of extended shelf life to four years. In addition, based on data from a seven-year study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the company has submitted to FDA an sBLA to further reduce the BioThrax vaccination schedule to three doses within six months with triennial booster vaccinations. To date, Emergent has supplied over 42 million doses of BioThrax to the U.S. government with additional deliveries scheduled through the third quarter of 2011 pursuant to the current procurement contract with HHS.


 Emergent BioSolutions Inc.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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